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Even though Erika was sick for part of the week, it was a really good week of school overall.

Most notably, she finished the Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 book, which I considered to be the minimum I expected her to achieve this year in math. Of course we'll go on to do more math, but it seemed like a nice milestone.

English

Erika finished reading Little Horse on His Own silently this week, and Dinosaurs before Dark. She also read Cam Jansen and the Dinosaur Game silently, and started reading The Knight at Dawn out loud.

She also did a couple of workbook pages on spelling.

Math

The best thing this week in math was that Erika finished the Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 book. She didn't even give me any trouble about writing the equations for the word problems, which has been a source of tension lately.

We also did some work on money, and some drills. She's not really getting any faster with drills, which seems to be a problem of focus/attention, rather than a problem with her knowledge of the answers. I am trying to decide whether to ignore it, or whether I should be doing something about it.

I was thrilled this week to get an updated (electronic) copy of the entire Math Mammoth Blue Series books; I had written to the author asking what her upgrade policy was for people who wanted the new books that she's added to the series over the last year, and she explained that if I paid the difference in price between what the series cost last year and what it costs this year, she'd give me a whole new copy of it. The graphics in the new version are much improved, so it was well worth the $15, even though I won't need any of the new books anytime soon.

Social Studies

This week I read out loud from Afrika and A School Like Mine. We also finished watching the second episode of National Geographic Africa and started the third. Erika is particularly excited about the third episode because it features Cameroon, the country in Africa she is most interested in.

We also continued our US History studies by watching two episodes of Liberty's Kids.

Science

We did a science activity about classifying things at our homeschool science class. Both kids did a great job with it! I was actually particularly impressed with Karl's recounting of the classificiation system they came up with -- he explained it very clearly. Erika took great written notes about the exercise, too.

We also watched the fourth and fifth episodes of Walking with Dinosaurs.

Art

Erika did some drawing this week, along with another Mark Kistler online drawing lesson. She thinks he's hilarious.

I really liked a giraffe Erika drew this week. Picture of giraffe )

Music

All we did in music this week was listen to some Classics for Kids episodes on Beethoven.

Physical Education

Because Erika was sick three days this week, we didn't get out much. She was feeling well enough to go to Karate on Thursday evening, and had a great time.

Health

At our co-op on Wednesday, the kids learned learned about the heart and about the effects of exercise on heart rate. Picture of heart rate graph )

We didn't do a great job of measuring everyone's heart rate accurately, but it was good enough to get the general idea.

German

I read the book, Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss kommt in die Schule out loud. Erika really liked it; I think we will need to get more books in the series.

Erika also did several pages in the fourth Einsterns Schwester 1 workbook. I was very surprised by page 50, where the kids were expected to distinguish between the sound represented by "ch" in the word "Buch" and the sound in the word "Ich." The thing that's so odd about it is that it's practically impossible to pronounce the wrong sound in an actual word. As far as I can tell from considering a variety of common words, which sound is used is determined entirely by the surrounding phonemes. Anyway, Erika had no idea there were two different sounds involved, and I had to draw on my own knowledge of phonetics to explain it to her. I really can't figure out why the curriculum authors thought German first graders would benefit from distinguishing those two sounds from one another.
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Since Karl had the week off from preschool, I hadn't actually planned to consider this a week of school. But it was such an educational week, I may as well! We went on two field trips, read books, and watched a lot of educational videos.

English

Erika finished reading African Animals and Jenius. She continued reading Dinosaurs Before Dark out loud, and started reading Little Horse on His Own silently. She thinks the chapters are way too short.

She also happened to read Fox in Socks out loud, and did the Nora Gaydos Cinderella play together with a friend. She practiced her Shakespeare lines, and did a bunch of pages in a new workbook. Some were writing exercises, some spelling, and some reading comprehension.

Math

We only did one page of our regular math curriculum this week, but Erika did do a bunch of pages in a workbook, played an addition game, and added up numbers when playing games.

Social Studies

In honor of Presidents' Day, I read out loud from What Your First Grader Needs to Know about the Revolutionary War and George Washington. We also read a bit from the encyclopedia on Abraham Lincoln.

I read out loud from Exploration and Conquest, continuing my American history read-alouds from last week. Erika will be going with me to Boston in April, so I want her to have some understanding of American history before we go.

I also read out loud from Afrika für Kinder Erzählt, which we got in the mail this week.

Science

We started off the week with a Lego WeDo session, building the drumming monkey. Picture of Erika with drumming monkey )

Both kids had a great time with that!

On Wednesday, we went to co-op and science class, both of which happened to be studying water. The theme at co-op was surface tension, while at science class the kids experimented with buoyancy.

On Thursday, we watched the shuttle launch on TV, which tied in very well with our field trip on Friday to the National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy center. The Space Shuttle Enterprise is located there, along with a Space Shuttle main engine, Spacelab, and other Shuttle-related stuff. Since we've recently talked a lot about the Apollo missions, the F-1 engine (5 of which are used in the first stage of the Saturn V rocket) was also nice to see. Picture of Erika in front of Spacelab )

On Saturday, we visited the rocks and minerals exhibit at the Natural History Museum. One highlight of that visit was getting to touch one of the world's oldest rocks -- 3.6 billion years old, if I recall correctly! We also enjoyed the earthquake and volcano exhibits, and just looking at many different kinds of rocks and minerals.

Throughout the week, we watched a few episodes of Walking with Dinosaurs. This afternoon, we're planning to do some work with an electricity kit. Obviously, a good week for science!

Edited to add: As an extra bonus, we did an activity involving yeast and a balloon. The point of it is to see that yeast releases gas when it grows. Picture of inflated balloon )

Art

Erika made a sticker mosaic, did general drawing, and rehearsed the Shakespeare play.

Music

Music was a weak point this week -- we didn't really do anything here.

Physical Education

We didn't do anything planned, but there was a lot of outdoor play.

Health

I read The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses out loud this week.

German

We didn't do our regular German work this week, but I did read aloud from our new Grundschullexikon. Erika did do her homework for German school, and attended her class on Saturday.
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Aside from a kerfuffle over word problems, we had a great school week. I bought a subscription to some fun drawing lessons on-line, which we did almost every day. We also started a study of Africa, and spent a lot of time outdoors in the nice weather.

Next week is a vacation week for us, since Karl has the week off from school.

English

Erika continued to read Dinosaurs Before Dark and Jenius, the Amazing Guinea Pig. She also started reading African Animals as part of our Africa study.

She also did some copywork, had a lesson on nouns and verbs, and practiced her Shakespeare lines.

Math

Erika had a major meltdown this week over word problems, refusing to write down the equations although John and I have both explained to her that translating the problem into mathematical language is the main point of the exercise. I set aside the math, telling her we'd take the week off from math -- she wasn't a fan, since math is her favorite subject. When we talked about it, she eventually told me that the problems are too easy. I asked if it would help if the problems were harder, and she agreed that would be good. We did some word problems later in the week, set up so it would be impossible for her to solve them in her head. She was willing to write the equations, so a step in the right direction. We'll see what happens when we resume regular math work.

Erika did do some other math work this week from various workbooks, most notably a few pages on pennies, nickels, and dimes.

Social Studies

Our Africa studies got off to a good start this week. We read about Africa in our atlas, read a couple of books about tribal peoples, and began watching National Geographic's Africa series on Netflix streaming.

At our co-op this week, the kids did a geography activity -- they created a model of the playground where they met. Erika had a great time!

Science

Science was a weak point this week -- Erika watched a couple of videos, listened to me read out loud about animals from her DK Animal book, and read out loud herself from African Animals. The most interesting video was the first episode of Walking with Monsters, about the evolution of early amphibians. We're both looking forward to the rest of it!

Art

We had a lot of fun with Mark Kistler's Online Art Lessons this week. I bought a subscription through the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op after hearing about it from another homeschool mom. One of Erika's first drawings )

I think we've done at least six or eight lessons already.

Erika also went to her Shakespeare rehearsal, and tomorrow we're planning to go to the National Gallery of Art for another of their Stories in Art programs.

Edit: We did go to Stories in Art. I don't think it was the best one ever, but the project at the end was fun. Picture of Erika working on her project. )

Music

We listened to the last two episodes of Classics for Kids on Beethoven, and also listened to other Beethoven music. Erika also practiced the piano, and I hope she and John find time for a lesson tomorrow.

Physical Education

Swimming, Karate, and lots of outdoor play. I think we went to playgrounds five days this week! Photo of Erika at the playground )

Health

Erika went to the dentist this week, which I suppose falls into the category of Health. :-)

German

As always, Erika worked in her Einsterns Schwester workbook. She also listened to me read from the third Sams book, and read herself from Das Picknick im Wald. She did her homework for the Saturday school, and attended class.
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It was another successful and relatively uneventful week of school. Erika finished the Math Mammoth Place Value 1 book, and finished her first long silent reading book.

English

In English this week, Erika finished reading Violet Bing and the Grand House as her silent reading book. She started reading the first Magic Tree House book for her read-aloud book, and the Dick King-Smith book, Jenius, the Amazing Guinea Pig for silent reading.

We also started copywork this week, which Erika liked. She asked for more.

Math

Erika wrapped up Math Mammoth Place Value 1 this week, and continued with Subtraction 1. To break things up, I also had her do a page in her German math workbook. I changed the way she does math drills at the end of the week, having her do only the "test" in the iPod Math Drills software, instead of doing a practice exercise first. Her test got much faster that way; I think she'd previously been getting distracted by the time she got to the test. She also spent quite a while playing with the Rocket Math software on the iPod.

Social Studies

Erika updated her temperature graph and listened to me read aloud from DK Eyewitness China.

Science

Wednesday was packed with science activities this week, including a session on gravity at our co-op, static electricity at science class, and rocks at earth scouts. Whew!

During the gravity session, the kids took turns reading aloud from Gravity is a Mystery, which went well. The kids thought it was hilarious that the author kept asking if they weighed 60 pounds, since the heaviest of them weighs about 52 pounds.

Art

Erika did some watercolor painting and played Who What Where Jr.

Music

We listened to the first two Beethoven podcasts from Classics for Kids. She's also planning to have a piano lesson with Dad today.

Physical Education

I actually took a picture at Karate class this week. Picture of Erika at Karate class )

In addition to Karate, Erika played in the snow and did a lot of running around with other kids, playing hopscotch and freeze tag indoors.

Health

Nothing specific in the health department this week.

German

Erika completed her usual work in the Einsterns Schwester workbook, did her homework for Saturday school, listened to me read aloud from the third Sams book, and went to her Saturday class.
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We had a fairly peaceful, uninterrupted week of school last week. Highlights included Erika reading her first book in German, and a field trip to the Air & Space Museum.

English

Erika finished reading Big Cats out loud this week, and continued with Asia. She also kept reading Violet Bing to herself.

In addition, she practiced her Shakespeare lines and wrote a letter to her pen pal.

Math

Erika kept working in Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 and Place Value 1. She's almost at the end of Place Value 1, working on bar graphs and counting pennies, nickels, and dimes. In Subtraction 1, skipping some of the pages that are mainly intended to practice subtraction facts seems to be working well for us.

I also gave Erika a math puzzle this week, and was pleased that she stayed calm and let me help her identify strategies for solving it.

Social Studies

I continued reading out loud from the DK Eyewitness China book, read You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Great Wall of China, and started You Wouldn't Want to be in the Forbidden City.

Science

We did a couple of rocks and minerals activities this week -- we made a sedimentary rock using sand, salt, and water, and separated materials into layers by shaking them in a tube filled with water.

We also watched some of Wild China.

The big excitement was our trip to the Air and Space Museum on Sunday. Before going, we watched parts of "When We Left Earth," so everyone was very enthusiastic about the Apollo program stuff and space exploration in general. Picture of Erika in front of a moon rock )

The kids also participated in a program involving a paper airplane contest. Photo of Erika throwing her paper airplane )

Art

Outside of Shakespeare rehearsal, not much went on in the art department. Erika rehearsed without her script for the first time.

Music

At our co-op this week, Erika learned about Jazz, Blues, and Rock and Roll Music, in honor of Black History Month. We also wrapped up the Classics 4 Kids segments on Scott Joplin, and Erika practiced the piano on her own.

Physical Education

Swimming, Karate, romping around in the snow.

Health

Erika finished observing the second of our mold-growing experiments, and wrote up her results. She determined that mold requires water and heat to grow.

German

Erika read her first German book this week. It was a first grade reader, Finn und Lili auf dem Bauernhof. I was impressed by how well she did with it!
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Despite the snow, which caused Karl to have two days off from school and our house to have no power for 38 hours, we still managed to get a decent school week in. Highlights included starting to learn about counting money, lots of time at the piano, and our first trip to the Stories in Art program for this academic year.

English

Erika continued to read Violet Bing for silent reading this week. She also kept on with Big Cats for reading out loud, and started another difficult title, Asia. I continue to be impressed by Erika's enthusiasm for reading books that I think are really too difficult for her. She's not at all fazed by encountering several words on a page that she needs help with.

Math

Erika finished major sections of both Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 and Math Mammoth Place Value 1 (page 39 in each book) this week. I decided to have her skip some of the pages in the next part of Subtraction 1, because while she needs some additional work on basic subtraction, she has a sufficiently good grasp of the addition facts within 10 that she doesn't really need that much subtraction drill. The remainder of Place Value 1 is about things like counting money and graphing, which is interesting and fun. Erika enjoyed learning to count pennies, nickels, and dimes this week.

Social Studies

We did some more reading in the DK Eyewitness China book this week, and Erika watched more of the Wild China video. She also started reading a book on Asia, mentioned under English.

Erika also went with John to have the emissions tested on one of our cars this week, and learned about utilities through our real-life experiences with the storm's aftereffects.

Science

Erika watched a couple of Magic School Bus videos this week, one on Volcanoes and one on Ants. Unfortunately, our science class was cancelled this week due to snow.

Art

At our co-op on Wednesday, the kids learned about perspective, studied a couple of pictures by Henri Rousseau, and made their own collaborative artwork. Picture of completed project )

Today, we took the kids to the National Gallery of Art's Stories in Art program. They learned about Alexander Calder and viewed his Little Spider, listened to a book about a spider who is an artist (Sophie's Masterpiece), and made their own mobiles using embroidery hoops and wire.

Music

Erika worked with John on the piano three times this week, and practiced on her own several times.

Physical Education

This was a weak point this week, as we neither went swimming nor had a Karate lesson. There was some playing in the snow, though.

Health

We started the second experiment from the Magic School Bus Germs kit. This was derailed a bit by our power outage, as part of the point was to see what happened with mold in a warm vs. a cold environment, but I think it will still come out OK. We also did the third experiment, about what yeast needs to grow. This didn't work out that well using the materials provided, but once I used larger containers, more water, more yeast, and more sugar, it all turned out the way you would expect.

Erika also heard more of the Magic School Bus book about bones read aloud.

German

Erika did 7 pages in Einsterns Schwester 1's fourth workbook, heard me read aloud from her Conni book, did her homework for the Saturday school, and went to class.
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We didn't really get that much done this week, as Karl was only in school two days, and one of those days was his school birthday party, which Erika and I needed to be there for. Monday was the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Tuesday a snow day (and Karl's actual birthday), Wednesday his rescheduled school birthday party, and Thursday a doctor's appointment. Friday morning Erika had her Kindergarten co-op, rescheduled from Wednesday because we wouldn't have been able to make it then. All of this adds up to NO regular school days for Erika this week.

I knew ahead of time that this was going to be a short week of school, I just didn't know how short. We got about half as much done as we aim for in a typical week. I didn't set out to accomplish anything in particular, and worked without a checklist this week.

English

This was our biggest area of strength this week. Erika did one lesson in Funnix 2 this week, and thought it was fun. Funnix 2 has the kids reading a couple of pages of a carefully graded story each lesson, so I took the opportunity to determine that she read 52 words in one minute with no errors.

She also read part of Ivy and Bean out loud to John before bed, read her Shakespeare lines several times, and read a book about cougars out loud to me in the car.

For silent reading, she read Nate the Great and the Big Sniff in two sittings, and started reading Violet Bing and the Great House, a much longer book.

Math

Erika did page 37 of the Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 book, and also did pages 37 and 38 in the Place Value 1 book. This section of the Place Value 1 book is an introduction to the idea of making additional 10's out of the 1's when adding several numbers together, in problems like 35+18+27= ?. It's very much a surface treatment of the subject, just intended to get the idea percolating in kids' heads for the future. I find it interesting that Maria Miller included this idea here, and figured we'd go ahead and do it even if I wouldn't have thought of doing it myself.

Social Studies

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, I read the relevant section out loud from What Your Second Grader Needs to Know. I have the whole series of these books, picked up one at a time at the Wheaton Library used book store, which makes it easy to find short, easily understood readings to introduce subjects like this. We also listened to part of the "I Have a Dream" speech, and talked about the civil rights movement.

We also continued reading the DK Eyewitness: China book this week, finished the American History readings in What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know, and heard some volcano myths at our Kindergarten co-op.

Science

I took Erika to the Natural History Museum on Monday, where we looked at the dinosaur fossils, the ice age exhibit, and sketched a couple of Chinese mammals.

At our Kindergarten co-op on Friday, Erika learned about volcanoes. I'm actually not sure of everything they did, because I was only there for about half of it.

Art

As usual, Erika did some drawing this week. She also went to a rehearsal for The Tempest, and was sad when it was over! drawing of Chinese Water Deer )


Music

All we've done this week so far for music is listen to an episode of Classics for Kids on Scott Joplin. I'm hoping John and Erika will get around to doing a piano lesson, but because we're so busy preparing for Karl's birthday party tomorrow, I'm not sure it will happen.

Physical Education

Swimming. Karate. General running around.

Health

Erika is learning about the bones in the human body by listening to us read The Search for the Missing Bones.

German

Erika read most of the third section in Lesespaß mit Lola. She also did five pages in the fourth Einsterns Schwester 1 workbook, did her homework for her Saturday German class, and went to class.
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Erika was in a lousy mood most of the week, so we had a bit of a challenging time with school. Both of us knew why she was in a lousy mood -- she was tired -- but we were unable to solve the problem. When I talked with her about possible solutions, her response was along the lines of, "but mom, I don't want to take a nap or go to bed early, because I like to do stuff!" Sleeping in isn't an option, both because it doesn't work with our family's schedule, and because she gets up before she's actually fully rested even when she has the chance to sleep in.

We had a lot of trouble getting as much done as I would have liked, because everything that involved any kind of writing took about 3 times as long as usual.

Anyway...

English

Erika finished reading "If I Ran the Circus" for her silent reading book this week, and also read, "What the Ladybug Heard." She started reading "Ivy and Bean" out loud, and also read her lines for The Tempest several times. Our Shakespeare group had its first rehearsal.

Erika also wrote a letter to her pen-pal this week.

Math

Erika caught up to where she'd been before the winter break in the Math Mammoth Place Value 1 book, completing page 35 for the second time. I feel as though the knowledge is fairly secure at this point. She also continued in the Subtraction 1 book, completing through page 36. Math drills were on the slow side this week, which is not surprising considering Erika's general lack of focus all weekk.

Social Studies

We continued our study of China this week, reading the relevant entries from "A School Like Mine," the entirety of Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China, and part of the DK Eyewitness book on China. We also watched some more of the Wild China video.

Science

We did a lot of science this week!

At our Earth Scouts meeting on Monday, the kids learned about how caves are made by water, and got to crawl through a pretend cave system, taking the role of water eating away at the soft rock. Coincidentally, we had seen part of the Wild China video earlier in the day about caves, which had discussed the same thing.

On Tuesday, we went to a friend's house for a session on force. The kids explored kinetic and potential energy, experimenting with rubber-band powered cars, catapults, etc.

Then on Wednesday morning at our Kindergarten co-op, the kids explored buoyancy by testing different materials to see if they float, and by filling a plastic container with various items to see how much weight would cause the container to sink. They then determined that this was approximately the same as the weight of the water that fit inside the container.

Wednesday afternoon, we went to the first session of our new homeschool science class, where the kids explored the idea that different liquids have different weights, and did a bit of chromatography.

Art

Erika did some drawing this week, and had her first real rehearsal for The Tempest. She also went to a puppet show of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Music

All we did this week for music was listen to an episode of Classics for Kids on Scott Joplin.

Physical Education

Phys Ed this week was mainly swimming, sledding, and Karate. It's too bad the karate class is at 6pm, because Erika's really pretty tired by then. Hopefully, it will work out OK.

Health

We read The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body this week.

German

Erika finished book 3 of the Einsterns Schwester 1 workbook series this week. Woohoo! She also started on book 4, did her homework for the German School, and went to class on Saturday.
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This was our first week back from winter break, and I thought it went very well. Erika didn't have any trouble getting back into the swing of "doing school," though she did seem to have forgotten everything she'd learned about place value.

English

I introduced silent reading this week. Up to this point, I've only had her read out loud, and she has not done much personal reading. For silent reading, we're spending 15 minutes each reading our own books. I'm letting her pick whatever she wants for silent reading, and encouraged her to pick something she thought was easier than what we usually read out loud. She picked "If I Ran the Zoo" by Dr. Seuss, which I think is actually pretty hard. The first day, she asked me for help or confirmation on a lot of words, but she's been asking less as the week progressed. I view this as positive, in that I think she's developing more confidence in her ability to figure it out for herself.

Karl asked for reading lessons this week, and since Funnix is available for free this month, I downloaded it and gave it a shot with him. I have no intention of teaching him to read at this age unless he continues to request reading lessons, but I'm happy to meet those requests when he makes them. Erika thought Funnix looked like so much fun that she wanted to try it, too. I gave her the placement test, and was not surprised that she placed into it at the highest level, lesson 57 of Funnix 2. I think she will probably find Funnix boring, but I am willing to let her do it if she wants to.

Erika worked a bit on learning her lines for the production of The Tempest she has a role in. I was amused when she called Karl an "insolent noisemaker" at one point during the week. She also finished reading "Bobcats," read a book called "Jack and the Box" at the library, and started reading "Amelia Bedelia Helps Out" to John before bed.

Math

When Erika did page 34 of the Math Mammoth Place Value 1 book this week, I realized she'd forgotten a bunch of stuff about place value. She suggested going back and doing some of the earlier pages again (what a great idea!), so she went back and did page 21 this week also. She also continued with the Subtraction 1 book, where she did pages 32, 33, and 34.

We also tried some interesting little 3-D block puzzles from McRuffy, which were challenging, and got back to doing drills on the iPod. Her times were slow at the beginning of the week, but got almost back to her top speeds by the end of the week.

Social Studies

I read out loud to Erika this week from the book, "What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know." I thought it was a good idea for her to have some grasp of American history at the most basic level, and living here in the DC area, even the most basic understanding can be expanded on as naturally as breathing.

We also began our study of China. It was my turn to facilitate the Kindergarten co-op this week, so I showed pictures of China, read "The Empty Pot" and the relevant section from "Children Just Like Me," looked at maps and at the globe, and did Tangram puzzles for a hands-on activity. Erika also started watching a series called "Wild China" that's available on Netflix streaming.

Science

Erika went to a nature center program about the value of dead trees this week. She particularly enjoyed making a woodpecker craft, and later in the week drew a picture that featured a dead tree with a woodpecker on it. Picture )

Saturday was very heavy on Astronomy; she went to a planetarium show in the afternoon, and in the evening the Earth Scouts had their stargazing field trip, which had been postponed from December. I set up my telescope, and everyone enjoyed looking at the moon, Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Orion Nebula.

Today we went to the National Building Museum for the "Flying in the Great Hall" session -- a couple of times a year, a local model airplane club flies electric and rubber band powered airplanes in the huge hall there. The kids had a great time watching the planes and learning a little bit about how they fly. At home, we flew a remote controlled "flying saucer" I happened to have kicking around.

Oh, and she finally finished watching the "Plants" episode of the Life series.

Art

Erika did a number of drawings this week, but I feel like this was a weak point this week.

I've started putting a postcard of a well-known artwork on our school table; I plan to change it out every week or two. Right now it's a self-portrait by Van Gogh.

Music

This week, Erika had a piano lesson and listened to the first Classics for Kids episode on Scott Joplin.

She also had an abortive recorder lesson -- just when she got the first note right, I startled her and she banged her mouth with the recorder. Oh, well. I don't think it will put her off of trying again.

Physical Education

Despite the cold weather, we went to the playground several times this week. We also went swimming once, and Erika had her first Karate lesson.

She liked Karate, and is looking forward to doing it again next week.

Health

Nothing special here this week, though Erika did get back to her memory work in Anki. Some of that was safety-related information this week, like phone numbers, while other parts applied to Social Studies or Science.

German

Erika did her usual work in Einsterns Schwester this week; she's only a few pages away from completing workbook 3 of the 6-workbook first grade series.

I also read out loud to her from "Conni geht auf Klassenfahrt," and she went to her Saturday School class.
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This week was the last before our winter break. Karl's school is out of session until after the new year, so our home school is on break as well.

It was a good week, with considerably less stress than last week. I kept Karl home from school on Thursday due to snow, but did a full day of school with Erika anyway, which was a bit challenging for everyone.

English

Erika did some fairly challenging reading this week, finishing up Jaguars and starting on Bobcats. She also wrote a letter to her pen pal, listened to the story of Shakespeare's Tempest twice, and got yakked at about nouns. We'll see how much she remembers about nouns next time it comes up...

Math

We spent a lot of time in the Math Mammoth Place Value 1 book this week, learning about counting by various numbers, and particularly about counting by 10's starting from any number within 100. She also learned more about estimating, and solved problems like, "if a purse costs $23 and a sweater costs $48, approximately how much do they cost together?" The expectation here was that she round each price to the nearest 10 and then add them together.

Erika also asked me to start adding bigger numbers into her math drills, so she's now practicing sums up to 11 instead of 10. I plan to increase that slowly up to 20.

Social Studies

I read out loud from Wow! Canada three times this week. During one of those sessions, Erika colored in the flag of Canada. She also marked and colored some interesting features on a map of Canada.

Erika also did some work with the US states this week, assembling the GeoPuzzle of the US and Canada with only limited help, and playing the "Stack the States" game on the iPod.

Picture of Erika putting the puzzle together )

Science

In science this week, Erika did an activity on sediment layers and a ping-pong ball airflow experiment. Picture of ping-pong ball experiment ) She also visited the Hidden Oaks Nature Center, where she participated in a program about dinosaurs and enjoyed the exhibits. One particularly interesting thing was an owl skull displayed with a human skull, which made it easy to see all the differences between them.

I also read out loud about giraffes and tapirs from her Animals book.

Art

Erika did some drawing and crafts this week, nothing too exciting.

Music

Erika continued her study of the Nutcracker this week. She listened to the music several times, heard the classics for kids episodes on Tchaikovsky once, and watched part of the ballet on TV.

Her co-op this week was also on the subject of music, though since I wasn't there myself, I'm not really sure what they did!

Physical Education

Nothing unusual here - swimming twice, playground, playing in the snow.

Health

Erika watched three episodes of The Magic School Bus on the functioning of the human body and its response to infection. She also had her annual visit to the pediatrician.

German

Erika did her usual work in Einsterns Schwester, listened to me read aloud from the third Sams book, and read from an easy reader a couple of times.

She also went to her Saturday class, which was partially occupied with the Christmas festival. I thought it was charming -- some of the classes did group performances (including dad's!), several families performed on various instruments, and some individual students also played.
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We managed to get everything done this week in the end, but not without a certain amount of stress. Due to various circumstances, we were a bit behind going into Friday, and then she had a total meltdown that morning, getting only 30 minutes of work done. It was an unusual day, and we were trying to work in a library with John there. We wound up doing schoolwork from 5pm-7pm in our school room at home. Luckily, that went much better than I expected, just like a normal school morning. Yet another example of Erika's strong preference for working in the school room.

On Thursday morning, we tried something new. Erika's friend Grace came over, and the two of them did school together. We didn't work on our usual curriculum, but instead mostly played educational games. I thought it went really well, and both girls enjoyed it. The only real problem was that Erika prefers math activities, and Grace prefers reading, but they managed to agree to alternate. I think we'll probably do it again.

English

Erika finished reading Nate the Great Talks Turkey this week. She also read the last Bob Book, which she'd never previously gotten around to (The King), and started reading Jaguars by Ann Squire. It has a lot of words that are challenging for her, but she's fascinated by the information and is eager to read it.

She also team-read Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping with Grace when the two of them got together for school.

On the writing front, Erika wrote her last birthday thank-you note. Whew!

During her Shakespeare group meeting on Thursday, she watched a children's animated version of The Tempest, the play the kids will be putting on.

Math

Erika mainly worked in the Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 book this week. The most interesting exercise was one where she was expected to write word problems using a provided equation. It took some coaching, but she figured it out. She also practiced writing some of the numbers, and agreed that she would use the American style for both "1" and "7". I didn't care whether she used the American or the German style, but felt it was important not to use the German "1" with the American "7".

We also played some math games, and she did addition drills.

Social Studies

We continued our study of Canada this week, reading the relevant entries from Children Just Like Me, A School Like Mine, and the children's atlas, while also reading further in Wow! Canada.

Erika also heard a story from Thailand about the blacksmith in the moon, and listened to a Greek myth about Pegasus. This was part of our Earth Scouts meeting with an Astronomy theme.

During our Kindergarten co-op this week, the kids played a mapping game where they had to hide things around the room and mark them on a map for the other kids to find.

Erika also continued learning the locations and flags of countries in Anki.

Science

We started off the week with further work on the Lego WeDo bird. Erika programmed it to make a pecking noise when a motion sensor detected the beak down near the ground.

During the Earth Scouts meeting on Astronomy, we focused on the moon and on the constellation of Pegasus, both of which will be visible during our outing later this month.

Erika also watched more of the Life video, and listened to the book, Our Three Bears, about the three types of bears in North America.

We plan to visit the Air & Space Museum Annex tomorrow afternoon.

Art

During the Earth Scouts meeting, Erika created moon-inspired art. Moon Art )

Erika also played Who What Where Junior with Grace, did Christmas crafts at the German school, and engaged in acting exercises in her Shakespeare group.

Music

Erika is planning to do a piano lesson with John tomorrow. She's also been practicing on her own, entirely without it being required.

We listened to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker on several occasions, and may watch a movie version tomorrow.

Physical Education

We went swimming twice this week. Erika also started learning to hula hoop, and tried ice skating for the first time. Ready for ice skating: )

Erika's going to a birthday party tomorrow morning at a gym, so I'm sure that will involve many interesting physical activities.

Health

We talked about nutrition this week, and I introduced the food pyramid. Erika seemed to really understand the importance of eating a variety of foods, and was more willing to eat vegetables later in the week.

German

Erika did her usual work in Einsterns Schwester and listened to me read from Neue Punkte für das Sams. She also did her homework for the Saturday school and attended her class.
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Although the week wasn't without challenges, we did a lot of good work and got mostly back into the groove after Thanksgiving. Erika made a leap in her German reading this week, and did a lot of math.

Math

Erika did huge quantities of math this week. She made progress in Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 and Place Value 1, as well as some other miscellaneous stuff. She also did some pretty fast addition drills. Picture of Erika working on some math )

English

Erika worked on reading Nate the Great Talks Turkey this week, but isn't finished yet. It's at least twice as long as the other Nate the Great books we've read. She also wrote a thank-you note.

On a playdate this week, Erika's friend had something called Cinderella: The Play by Nora Gaydos. It included a book with the Cinderella story, and individual scripts for each of the characters. The girls read the book together, alternating pages, and then put on the play. They actually did the play twice, so they could take turns being Cinderella and the prince. Her father and I read the other parts, with a bit of help from our younger kids. I thought the whole thing was a lot of fun. Picture of the girls reading their parts )

Social Studies

Our main social studies activity this week was at our Kindergarten co-op, where a mom who lived in Cameroon for 10 years told African folk tales and taught the girls how to wrap a rectangle of fabric to make a skirt. They also danced to African music.

Other than that, we did some reading in the book, Wow! Canada, and Erika studied countries and continents in Anki.

Science

We started off the week by building another project in our Lego WeDo robotics set, a bird that can be tilted up and down and has wings that flap. There's a motion sensor in the tail, so you can program the WeDo software to do things in response to the sensor input. We got as far as having it make noise when the wings flap, but will be returning to the project next week. Picture of bird )

Erika and I also went on a nature hike this week, read a sweet book about seeds (A Seed is Sleepy), and watched yet another part of the Life series.

Art

I tend to count any kind of drama as an art activity, so the Cinderella play I mentioned under English counts here, too. Erika also went to the first meeting of a new homeschool Shakespeare group -- the plan is to put on a heavily modified version of the Tempest. The kids did some acting exercises and listened to a reading of a Tempest adaptation during the meeting. I think Erika is feeling too shy to have a speaking role in the play, but hopefully she'll have fun with it anyway.

We also visited the Smithsonian American Art museum, where we saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit. Erika was interested in the pictures, and I think we might go back again before the exhibit closes. We also took a look at some Paul Manship sculptures while we were there.

Erika also found time to do a lot of drawing this week, and made paper snowflakes.

Music

We listened to two of the Classics for Kids episodes on Prokofiev, and Erika plans to do a piano lesson with John tomorrow.

Physical Education

Nothing special here. Swimming, a nature hike, general running around outside.

Health

We found a tick on Karl this week, so we got to learn about ticks and Lyme disease. We also had a tour of the new fire station and talked about firefighting and fire safety. Picture of Erika at fire station )

German

Erika did her usual work in the Einsterns Schwester workbook this week, but the more interesting thing was when we were reading Conni sucht Kater Mau. This category of German books has all the nouns replaced by pictures. The way we usually read these kinds of books is that I read the text, and Erika fills in the words for the pictures. Only this time, she accidentally read one of the words after a picture. And then she started doing it on purpose, reading one or two words after each of the pictures, until she read the entire last page. Go Erika!
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We took the week off from school this week, but that didn't prevent us from engaging in educational activities.

Most notably, we went to the National Building Museum for their Homeschool Day. Erika took a class called "city by design," which involved learning about city planning. The kids were divided into groups, and each was assigned to make a particular kind of building. Erika was in the commercial group, so she made an Italian restaurant. )

Once they'd built their buildings, they put them onto a big map on the floor. The facilitator led the kids in discussing where different kinds of buildings ought to go in a city, so they wound up with the residential stuff far from the factories bit close to the shops.

On Tuesday, Erika mostly played, but she did spend an hour doing a math worksheet with a friend who had it for homework. I made a copy so both girls could do it at the same time, which they seemed to enjoy.

Wednesday, I brought an art activity involving a work by Kandinsky over to a friend's house, and the girls had fun learning about the artist and painting. Picture of Erika painting )

This came from The Usborne Art Treasury.

In the afternoon, we went swimming with one of our homeschool groups, which was lots of fun.

Now we're heading to my in-laws' house for Thanksgiving, where I'm sure we'll wind up playing games, and on the weekend we plan to visit the National Gallery of Art with my parents.

So, yet another educational vacation week.
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We had another good week here. The highlight for me was probably Erika's continuing progress with math, though it was by no means the flashiest thing that happened.

Math

Nothing really new and exciting on the math front. Erika is continuing to work on subtraction and place value, and is working with more efficiency and focus. She got even faster in her math drill, too.

We played quite a bit of the card game, "Rat-a-tat cat," which she received for her birthday. At the end of each round, you have to add up the values of four cards to get your score; I was impressed that Erika was able to do this for herself even when the answers were numbers over 10.

English

English this week consisted of writing thank-you notes and reading Nate the Great and the Monster Mess. We didn't do as much reading as we usually do, but did a lot of writing, so I think it balances out.

Erika also read Clifford the Small Red Puppy to Karl when he was feeling sick.

Social Studies

We continued our study of Canada by learning a bit about native peoples. I read a book out loud about the Inuit, and we also learned a bit about the residential school system by reading Shi-shi-etko. I'm still trying to decide whether the sequel is too dark.

We also paid a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian, where we made it a point to look at exhibits about native people living in Canada.

Since we are going to the National Building Museum on Monday for a program on city planning, we also dipped into the preparatory packet for that. We talked about different categories of buildings and why you would want certain things close to each other or far apart.

Our temperature graphing project continued onward, and Erika continued to study countries, continents, and flags in Anki. I added some of the countries immediately surrounding Germany to her study this week.

Science

At our co-op this week, the kids learned about pendulums. Picture of pendulum )

The kids experimented with different pendulum weights and string lengths, and used a funnel pendulum filled with salt so they could observe the patterns. At the end, they dumped large quantities of salt under a pendulum with a point on the end, and took turns releasing the pendulum and examining the patterns generated.

We also wrapped up the second Life disk, learning about birds and insects.

Art

Erika drew pictures on the backs of her thank-you notes and played Who, what, Where? Junior this week.

Music

Erika got frustrated this week that each episode of Classics for Kids is so short, so we agreed to listen to all of the episodes about one composer on the same day, and then to repeat it again the following week. So we listened to the rest of the episodes on Prokofiev this week.

Physical Education

We went swimming once and to the playground a couple of times, but didn't get as much physical activity in as I think is ideal. We were planning to go swimming twice, but Karl was sick on Friday afternoon, so we had to scrap that plan.

Health

This week we started studying germs using the Magic School Bus science kit about germs. So far, we've succeeded in growing mold on a piece of bread. Yummy.

German

I finished reading Am Samstag kam das Sams zurück last Sunday, so this week we started reading Conni auf dem Reiterhof. Erika likes it, but thinks the kids are too mean to Conni.

Erika also made good progress in Einsterns Schwester 1, did her homework for the Saturday school, and went to her class on Saturday.
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We were going to go swimming this afternoon. And maybe to a playground.

Unfortunately, when we picked Karl up from school, his teachers told me that he seemed like he was coming down with something. They thought he felt a little warm, he didn't eat much, and he spent the last half hour of school lying on a sofa, which is totally unlike him.

So we didn't go swimming. Or to the park.

Instead, Erika spent the afternoon engaged in a wide variety of other learning activities, including:

  • 12 rounds of Rat-a-tat Cat, in which she adds up her own score at the end of each round. I add up the total score at the end, though.
  • A number of pages from a random Kindergarten workbook; at Erika's request, I removed the unused pages that might be of interest to her when we were recycling the rest of the workbook yesterday. This was all really easy stuff for her, but she did read all the directions herself, and one of the exercises involved reading bar graphs and writing down the answers, which is something we haven't done (but she clearly understood from watching Sid the Science Kid or something).
  • Reading a Clifford story out loud to Karl. He wasn't feeling well enough to listen to her read Nate the Great.
  • Watching the rest of Life: Insects.
  • Making observations in our ongoing science experiment on mold, and writing down the results.

Now she's using BrainPOP Jr. on the computer. She seems to be learning about allergies.

All of this is in addition to the full day of school we did this morning while Karl was in preschool!

Karl spent the afternoon lying around on the couch, lying around in his bed, and napping. Poor guy.
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We had a really good week of school, and I'm not bothered by the fact that we fell two pages short on what I plan for German. On the flip side, Erika did more writing than usual, in both English and German, and made great strides on her math drill.

Math

Erika started in on the Math Mammoth Subtraction 1 book this week. I feel that she already has a pretty good grasp on the concept of subtraction, as it's a subject we had covered in Miquon and MEP before switching to Math Mammoth Addition 1, so I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out exactly which pages to give her in the Subtraction 1 book. Thus far, I've given her some, but not all, of the early pages in the book, particularly those that focus on the use of a number line. She tends to make mistakes when using a number line, even when she knows the answer to the problem, because she loses track of how many "hops" she's made, or loses track of what the number line actually means. I'm happy to see that she's doing much better with the number line this time around.

She's also continuing to work in the Place Value 1 book -- I hold up a page from each and ask which she'd rather do.

She made a sudden leap in speed when using the Math Drills software. I think she finally started to get the idea that it was fun to compete with your own previous speed, and figured out how to focus better on it. It's funny that last week, I was noting that she wasn't improving, and now all of a sudden she's twice as fast.

English

Erika wrote a couple of thank-you notes for birthday presents this week, which I thought was great as a homeschooling activity -- a meaningful, necessary writing assignment!

She also finished reading Nate the Great and the Pillowcase, read Come Back, Amelia Bedelia!, and also enjoyed Mouse Mess while we were at the library. We mixed things up a little bit with bedtime reading this week to give me more time to read to Karl, so she did most of this reading with John. There was even an occasion when she read the directions on her math worksheet herself. Yay!

I'm really looking forward to the day when the written word "jumps out at her" in a way that makes it easier for her to read something for herself than to have someone read it to her.

Social Studies

We read a couple of books related to the "first thanksgiving" this week -- Giving Thanks and Tapenum's Day. I don't think Erika has a very good understanding of it all yet, but I'm sure she's getting something out of it. At our Earth Scouts meeting on Monday, we made some crafts inspired by Native American dress, and read Brother Eagle, Sister Sky.

On Wednesday, we made a collaborative map of the continental United States at our Kindergarten co-op, which was lots of fun. Pictures of map-making )

Each kid had four small maps showing things they were to draw or put on the map: a river, a city, a lake, and a mountain. They needed a fair bit of help, but everyone had fun and I think they learned something.

On Friday, Erika participated in the St. Martin's Day Lantern Parade at the German School, which culminates in a retelling of the St. Martin's Day story. Picture of the kids with their lanterns. )

She also continued her study of world geography with Anki. I added the continents to her study this week, since she had mastered the countries and flags she'd been studying. I need to decide what to have her learn next!

Science

We finished watching the Arctic Exposure videos this week, much to Erika's disappointment. She really loved them! We also watched the next episode of Life, on fish. We were amazed to learn that there are fish that can climb up cliffs, through waterfalls, to get to the pools at the top.

Erika also did an activity on metamorphic rocks, which involved making lots of little balls of Play-doh to represent individual rocks, putting them in a balloon, and smushing the whole thing under a pile of big books. Pictures of metamorphic rock activity )

Art

Erika received a game called Who, What, Where? Junior for her birthday, which provided lots of drawing entertainment. The game provides separate "who," "what," and "where" decks, and you have to draw whatever you get. For example, you might be asked to draw a zebra watching television in a van, or a peacock skiing in a canoe. The other players have to guess what you drew. In theory, you're supposed to time it and keep score, but we just had fun drawing pictures and guessing.

Music

We began studying Prokofiev with Classics for Kids this week, and listened to Peter and the Wolf. Erika did a great job of listening for the different instruments and telling us which animal was being represented.

Erika also had a piano lesson with John.

Physical Education

The weather was beautiful, so we went to the playground several times this week. One day, I took the kids and three of their friends to a playground 3/4 of a mile from the house, and was impressed at the lack of "are we there yet" kind of whining. It was a lovely walk along the creek.

This afternoon, the kids are going swimming with John while I go to a meeting.

German

Since Erika had finished book 2 of Einsterns Schwester 1 last week, she read the corresponding selections in the Lesespaß mit Lola book. She's really making good progress reading German. She also did seven pages in book 3, which isn't the nine we aim for, but it'll do.

She wrote thank-you notes to two of her friends in German, did her homework for the German school, went to her Saturday class, and listened to me read aloud in German from Am Samstag kam das Sams zurück. We are almost done with that book, maybe one or two more sessions left.
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I had an incredibly great day.

Because of the federal holiday, traffic to Karl's school this morning was without delays -- it's always a pleasant surprise, since I tend to forget about the holidays until I'm already on the road.

School with Erika was particularly smooth and loving today -- she did all her work efficiently, and gave me extra snuggles when we were reading in bed. We managed to get all of the following done:

* Erika wrote 2 thank-you notes to friends she was going to see this afternoon, and drew pictures on the backs.
* I read 2 books out loud, Tapenum's Day, about life as a Wampanoag boy around the time of the settlement of Plymouth Colony, and Arctic Foxes, a lovely little book about one of Erika's favorite animals.
* Erika did a math lesson on subtraction, and zipped through her addition speed drill faster than ever.
* We watched part of an episode of Life (the nature special) while having a snack.
* Erika did some handwriting practice in her German workbook.

(Just to round out the list of her schoolwork for the day, she's also going to read out loud from an Amelia Bedelia book at bedtime, and listen to me read out loud from a German book. She may also have a piano lesson this evening with John, depending on how the evening goes.)

After our session of "school", we headed back to Potomac to pick up Karl and three of the kids' friends from school. Erika did her Anki memorization work on the iPod Touch in the car. Getting all five kids into the car was trouble-free, and the drive back here uneventful.

John comes home for lunch on Thursdays, so he had cooked lunch for the kids by the time we got here. They all liked it, nobody spilled anything, and there was no fighting at the table. After lunch, the kids all played together in the playroom for about half an hour while I packed some snacks, and then we took advantage of the lovely weather (high of 60 degrees F, sunny, no wind) to head to the playground.

It's about 3/4 of a mile to this particular playground, but the walk is lovely, so we went on foot. It takes about half an hour for three six-year-olds and two three-year-olds to walk this distance, especially on a path next to a creek, but we eventually made it to the playground, where we played and had snacks for about an hour before we headed back to meet the guest children's ride back home.

Really, a spectacularly great day. If only they could all be so easy and so much fun!
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We had a really busy weekend -- most notably, Erika had her sixth birthday party -- so I wasn't able to get to this update.

Obviously, the most exciting thing that happened last week was Erika's birthday. But we did have some academic milestones, too -- she finished the Math Mammoth "Addition 1" book, and also the second workbook in her German curriculum, "Einsterns Schwester 1."

On her birthday, we did a full academic schedule, but we also went for a morning snack at the Corner Bakery Cafe as a special treat.

Math

In addition to finishing the Math Mammoth "Addition 1" book, Erika also continued to work in the "Place Value 1" book, and did some math drills. She doesn't seem to be making much progress on speed with the math drills, but I think that's mainly a problem of focus rather than an indication that she's not progressing in recalling the addition facts more quickly. Math Mammoth is continuing to work well for Erika, so we'll be continuing with Subtraction 1 concurrently with Place Value 1.

One of the things I find interesting about Math Mammoth, at least at this level, is that the author tells the kid what to do, but doesn't really explain the overarching idea. It seems as though she's leading the children to make the connections for themselves.

English

Erika finished the letter she started last week to her pen pal, and also read "Nate the Great, San Francisco Detective" out loud. I haven't encouraged her to read silently, as I figure that will happen on its own when she's ready, so it was nice to see her read a book at the library while I was talking with the librarian.

Social Studies

This week I took Erika with me to vote, and she asked some good questions about the voting process and why I would choose one candidate over another. I'm glad we're able to walk over to the polling place together and talk about the political process; it seems like a fine family tradition.

I also read out loud to her from a book about the Mayflower voyage, as I think it makes sense to start learning a bit about American History as it comes up during the year. I think this particular book, "Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage," is a bit above her interest level at the moment.

We also did our usual temperature graphing activity, and Erika continued to study country locations and flags in Anki.

Science

Erika's birthday was on Wednesday, and one of the gifts she received was a science kit about electricity. We did about half of it that afternoon.

On Sunday, we went to the National Building Museum with various relatives, where we built the large arch. It took quite a few people to make it work, but once it was done, it stood up until we knocked it down. Picture of arch )

We also watched the Arctic Exposure videos, finished reading about New Zealand, and Erika read a book about leaves in the fall.

Art

Erika did some drawing this week, and also revisited the Arcimboldo exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.

Music

We wrapped up the Classics for Kids episodes on Schumann, and Erika had a piano lesson.

Physical Education

The most exciting thing here was the last day of soccer for the fall. Picture of kids with their medals )

Health

We talked about fire safety this week and went over our escape plan in the event of a fire. Erika was pretty freaked out by the idea that we might have a fire at our house, but I'm glad we took the time to talk about it.

Obviously, something we'll need to revisit over time.

German

In addition to wrapping up the second workbook in her Einsterns Schwester 1 series, Erika also did fairly extensive homework for her Saturday class and attended the class. She got some new German books for her birthday, so I read one of them out loud to her.

She got a thank-you note in German from a friend, and read it herself. Yay!
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We got back in the swing of things last week after our vacation week. Erika did have a little trouble getting back to her usual level of work on Monday, but we had a super-long school day on Thursday which more or less compensated.

English

Things were a little more varied in English this week than they have been the last couple of weeks. Erika started working on a letter to her pen pal, team read the book, "Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm," and got into a Brain Quest "Reading Basics" Grade 1 deck loaned to us by a friend. She read four of the little stories, and then I read the questions to her. I was impressed that she got all of the questions right, even when she'd needed help with some of the words in the story.

Math

This week Erika tried going back to Miquon math one day, with odd results. The Miquon math page she picked was on mixed addition and subtraction, and we haven't been doing subtraction lately in our Math Mammoth work. She picked up the Cuisenaire rods to use with the subtraction problems, and at the beginning of the page, she was using them correctly. By the end of the page, she was using the Cuisenaire rods for subtraction problems as though they were addition problems, and had no idea what she was doing wrong. It seemed to me, from listening to her talk about it and watching what she was doing, that at the beginning of the page she was thinking about the math and modeling the math with the Cuisenaire rods, while at the end of the page, she had stopped thinking about the math and was just using the Cuisenaire rods in a rote way. I don't think the problem is that she was tired; I think she gets easily distracted by the physical act of moving things around, and loses track of the purpose of moving the objects around.

Other than that minor aside, math went well. Erika is continuing to work on the last pages of the Math Mammoth Addition 1 book, and on the early pages of the Place Value 1 book.

Social Studies

We didn't do much with Social Studies this week. Erika continued to study the locations and flags of several countries in her Anki work; we also read some more about New Zealand and did our weekly temperature graphing exercise.

Science

In science this week, we did an experiment from Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, illustrating that air has weight. It involves making a balance and hanging empty balloons from each end, then blowing up one of the balloons. pictures )

I did some reading about animals of New Zealand, and we watched some nature videos during our snack breaks -- episode 3 of the Life series, and we started Arctic Adventures.

Art

For art this week, Erika cut fruit and vegetable shapes out of construction paper and glued them to a background sheet to make a face inspired by Arcimboldo. Art pictures )

Music

At our co-op this week, the kids learned about different kinds of music, got to try a few different musical instruments, danced to various music, etc.

That was it for music -- John and Erika didn't get around to doing a piano lesson together.

Physical Education

The usual here -- swimming, soccer, playgrounds.

Health

Again, nothing new to report. Since Erika has pretty much mastered the basic safety information she'd been working on, I think it's time to move into some new areas with Health.

German

Erika continued to make good progress in her Einsterns Schwester workbook. Her homework for the Saturday School involved writing actual sentences to tell a story, and she did a very good job of listening for the sounds and writing them down. She had fun at school again this week; they seem to be studying hedgehogs.
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Karl had Thursday and Friday off from preschool, so we terminated our formal school week on Wednesday. We also went to a museum on Tuesday, and had our co-op on Wednesday, meaning we only had time for sit-down schooling on one day. Next week will be our fall break, since Karl has the week off from school and we'll be traveling.

Math

Erika got considerably faster on her addition drill this week, and doesn't seem to mind doing it. We did a mixture of Math Mammoth Place Value 1 and Addition 1 this week, along with a couple of pages in her German math workbook.

I was really impressed with her work in the Addition 1 book, which was on inequalities. It was all really easy for her, for which I credit all the work we did on the subject in MEP 1. The best thing was when she looked at this problem:

7 + 4 ___ 7 + 2

and said, "oh, that's easy -- I don't even have to add, since I know that 4 is greater than 2."

English

Again we just read a couple of books together this week. I think I may try to get her to write something while we're on vacation next week.

Science

We did build a better volcano this week, though it's not dry yet so we haven't had a chance to test it.

picture of volcano )

I think we may not get to it until after we get back from our break.

Erika also went to the Natural History museum twice, once with me and once with John. She mostly looked at the Mammals exhibit, though we did also spend some time in the Early Man area.

We also watched the first episode of the "Life" nature documentary, and went on a nature hike at Jug Bay with our Earth Scouts group.

We accidentally started our study of Canada when Erika saw the books I got from the library about Canadian animals. I wound up reading books out loud to her about caribou and wolves, and we team read a book about beavers.

Social Studies

We did our temperature graphing exercise, and I started reading out loud from a book about New Zealand. Erika also continued her work with Anki on the locations and flags of various countries.

John also took the kids up to the farm we get our milk and beef from for their open house. Among other things, they took a tour of the creamery and learned how milk is processed into different products.

German

Erika did a few pages in her Einsterns Schwester workbooks, and a page of homework for her Saturday class. I also read out loud from our current German read-aloud.

Art

Erika did a bunch of different art things this week. She did a couple of projects outside of our school time, including an elaborate set of construction-paper food. She also drew Australian animals at the Natural History museum, worked in clay to build the volcano, and participated in some acting activities at our co-op. Whew!

Some of the art )

Music

All we did for music this week was continue our study of the Schumanns via Classics 4 Kids.

PE

PE this week included swimming, hiking, a playground visit, general running around outside, and soccer.

Health

Nothing new here; Erika continued to review basic name/address/phone number information in Anki.

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